You’d be surprised to hear how much money you can save by spending one or two afternoons this spring weatherizing your Savannah area home. With a few basic tools, some rudimentary handyman skills and a weatherization checklist, you can turn an energy-wasting home into one that’s relatively airtight and energy efficient. Following are some tips on home weatherization that should help in all seasons.
Start With Windows and Doors
With most homes that are leaking air, windows and doors are the prime culprits. In winter, warm air escapes and cold air infiltrates, while in summer, hot outside air finds its way inside. It’s tough to provide efficient heating and cooling if your HVAC equipment is always having to make up for the loss of conditioned air. Take these steps when sealing windows:
- Take a caulk gun and squeeze caulk around the outside of window casings.
- Around the edges of windowpanes, apply glazing. First, scrape away old glazing, clean off the glass, and place new glazing at the spot where glass meets the frame of the window.
- Tightly shut the window and apply rope caulk where there’s movement when the window opens or closes.
- If your home doesn’t have the benefit of storm windows, apply plastic window film either inside or outside the window.
With doors to the outside, remove and replace worn weatherstripping. If there’s daylight under the door, install a vinyl or rubber door sweep.
Seal doors with caulk on non-moving parts, such as the door casing. The weatherstripping goes on the inside of the door jamb. With sliding doors, you may have to apply weatherstripping on both the edge of the door and the frame itself, to make a tight enough seal.
Air Sealing Inside and Out
Get some more caulk, as well as expanding spray foam, and go to work on your home’s exterior. Spots to pay special attention to include anyplace where electrical wiring, vents or pipes penetrate the walls of the home. Look closely at locations where building materials meet, including right above the foundation at the rim joist. Sometimes leaks in windows and doors are more evident from outside than inside. Check along the window frames. Use expanding foam for bigger gaps and cracks, and caulk for the others.
Inspect rain gutters, both along the roof edge and where the water drains. If the gutters are leaky, rain and melted snow will seep into the basement and eventually the foundation. The same applies if the water isn’t draining far enough away from the house.
Head inside and light an incense stick to conduct an impromptu energy audit. Walk along the inside perimeter of your home, passing the incense stick along the walls, especially areas that are prone to air leaks, including windows and doors, wall outlets, recessed lighting and places where utility penetrations exist. When you see the smoke waver, you’ve found an air leak. Get out your caulking gun or weatherstripping roll, and go to work.
Other Weatherization Steps
- Check the attic. If the insulation on the floor doesn’t rise to the top of the floor joists, add some more. The attic, in most homes, is the main spot where heat is lost or gained, seasonally. A trained professional can help with this aspect of weatherization, telling you what type of insulation to use, how much, what R-value (thermal resistance), and how to install it.. or better yet, he’ll install it for you.
- As important as air sealing the perimeter of your home can be, it’s also important to seal the attic from your living space. Both air and heat energy can transfer between the attic and below, forcing your HVAC equipment to work all the harder to heat or cool your home. Pay special attention to the attic hatch or door, using weatherstripping and insulation to minimize the energy transfer between below and above.
- While your thermostat isn’t usually considered a weatherization tool, it does offer a big opportunity for energy savings. If you have an old-school manual thermostat, it’s time to upgrade to a programmable model. It will help you reduce energy usage when nobody’s home, or everybody’s asleep, and allow you to worry about other things, rather than whether you remembered to adjust the thermostat.
Learn more about home weatherization and Byrd Heating & Air Conditioning’s maintenance service plan, then contact us at 912-373-8447 to schedule an appointment.
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